Sorry for the delay – I've been ill again, as some as you may have known and I've also been working on an exciting project with jenjustjen: a Firefly Virtual Season!

The first episode is scheduled to go live Jan. 4th, 2006, and there will be a new episode every other week for 21 weeks which will lead right up to the Big Damn Movie. Keep your eyes open for announcements – we'll have a website up soon – and if you want more information or are interested in helping with research, art, proof-reading, please let us know! You can leave a message at our LiveJournal freedomiswhat (with underscores between the three words) or email us at firefly (at) crackerboxpalace (dot) com

The next three stories are all part of the Little Things series and follow CURRENTS, which can be found here at or at my writing LJ, writwritewrote.

Anyway, they might be the last of The Little Things for a while – at least until we get the Virtual Season up and running smoothly!

Remember Mich --- Review companion


Title: HEALING
Author: Michmak
Rating: Teen / Mature
Characters: Jayne, River, Simon, Mal, Kaylee
Pairings: Jayne/River
Disclaimers: Not mine.

Summary: "Simon," she says, "Simon – he's awake!"

A/N: Did you really think I'd kill him?

HEALING

He didn't wake up for almost three days and when he finally cracked open his eyes he almost wished he was dead. Felt like someone had ripped him up and tore him open, he had never felt pain so bad 'afore.

Even the steady thrum 'a blood through his veins hurt him; made his body throb. He shut his eyes against the stabbin' white lights and tilted his head to the side, bitin' back a groan.

"Jayne-bird?" Her voice is soft and hoarse, like she somehow got a cold. He can feel her hand touch his own tentatively and his fingers grip it compulsively. The feel 'a her palm against his own brings a good pain, and he opens his eyes again and looks at her.

Someone done made his girl cry and when he can move without feelin' like he's dyin', he's gonna find the hun dan that did it and make 'em pay. He tries to say her name but realizes he can't because there's somethin' in his mouth preventin' it. All he can manage is a weak gaggin' sound, but it makes her smile.

"Simon," she says, "Simon – he's awake!"

Doc is there suddenly, floatin' on the edges 'a his vision. He looks drawn, like he ain't slept in a week but he smiles when he steps closer to his sister and peers at Jayne over her shoulder.

"Jayne," he murmurs. "It's good to see you awake."

"Told you," River smiles, "told you he wasn't leaving me."

"Yes you did," Simon agrees. He looks at Jayne again and puts a hand on the larger man's knee. "Don't try to talk, Jayne. You've got a tube down your throat helping you breathe. I've sedated you quite heavily, so if you feel groggy and confused it's from the drugs. They'll keep you from moving too much as well – we need to keep you from ripping the stitches accidently."

'Stitches?' Jayne thinks, 'What?'

"He wants to know what happened to him," River states.

Simon nods, "Of course he does." He smiles at Jayne suddenly and the larger man realizes – for the first time – how much the Doc and his girl look alike when they smile. Lights up their whole faces. "You saved Kaylee's life, is what you did. You remember? You'd gone to get the mule back."

Jayne blinks and grunts around the tube down his throat. 'No.'

"No," River says for him. Her hand squeezes his just a little bit tighter.

Doc continues, "Mal was with you and about twenty other men. You'd gotten the mule out of the dirt and set on the ground and Kaylee climbed up to see if she could assess the damage. Apparently the mule had been placed too close to where it had been buried. A sink hole formed and the mule started sliding back into it. You somehow managed to jump on, get hold of Kaylee and throw her at Mal before the whole thing tipped over and went back into the hole, on top of you."

''Member…Mal…'

"He remembers now," River echoes his thoughts. "The Captain hauled him out. He thought he was dying and would never see his Crazy-girl again. Regretted so many things, but mostly that he would never kiss her again."

"Plenty of time for that," Doc reassures them both. "River knew something had happened. We'd just gotten the tarps off Serenity when she fired her up and flew her straight to where they were trying to get you onto one of the working mules. You had a punctured lung, a perforated spleen…liver damage…uhm, several broken ribs. You're lucky to be alive."

Jayne closes his eyes. Simon squeezes his knee again to get his attention. "Jayne…thank you. For saving Kaylee. I mean…I…just thank you."

He don't remember fallin' asleep, but when he wakes up River and Simon are still both there. His girl is still holdin' his hand, but she's sittin' in a chair beside the bed and her head is restin' awkwardly near his shoulder. He can feel her breath on his neck.

Doc is standin' at the counter, enterin' somethin' into his data pad. "He's going to be fine," Simon is reassurin' someone just outta the line 'a his vision. "It will be a while before he's in fighting condition, though. He really is lucky to be alive."

"Pichonet says it was the sand that kept him from being crushed," the Captain says, and steps closer to the Doc. Mal looks tired, too. "Says it acted like a cushion and helped him absorb the weight a bit more easy. Our little Albatross is finally sleeping, I see?"

Both men turn to look at River and see Jayne watchin' them. Mal smiles, "Hey, look who's up." Doc is immediately by his side, fussin' around him and Jayne grunts irritably. The glare he sends both men plainly says, 'Don't wake my girl up.'

Mal squeezes his foot. "Don't think a legion of Reavers could wake her up," he reassures. "She ain't slept since you been hurt – ain't left your side, neither. Couldn't see before how you two would ever work, but I see it now. You're a lucky man, Jayne Cobb."

Jayne's expression softens and he twists his head a bit so that he can see her better. Mal continues, "You had us all worried. Little Kaylee's been beside herself, thinking it's her fault you got hurt."

The large Merc glares at that and shakes his head slightly. The Captain lifts his hands in a placatin' manner, "I know, I know – we all told her it was an accident, but I think she'll feel better once she sees you're awake. She was as bad as River, haunting the infirmary the last few days. Finally had to send her back to the settlement with your Ma. Told her to get some sleep and get our mule working - the tinkering will keep her mind occupied."

"Everyone in Prospero will be glad to hear you're finally awake," Simon adds. He slices a glance at the Captain and grins, "Seems you're a big damn hero."

"Last I heard, there was talk of a statue," Mal teases. Jayne grimaces and the other two men chuckle. Captain squeezes his foot again, "I'm leaving now. Gonna go fill your Ma and everyone else in, but Doc will be staying here with you. And your girl, of course. Guess you'll get to see her naked after all."

The fiery blush that blooms up Jayne's neck and face send both men off into fresh gales 'a laughter. Jayne would chuckle his own self, despite his embarrassment, if he didn't have a gorram tube down his throat.

After a few moments, Simon wipes at his eyes and grips the big man's shoulder, grinning, "She's already seen you naked, you know. She's the one that decided she was in charge of all your sponge baths."

"He wants the gorram tube out of his mouth," River says for him, the next day. There'd been a steady stream 'a people through the infirmary to say hello and he's exhausted and sore and wants to swallow without gaggin'.

"I imagine so," Simon replies, "but he's going to have to wait at least one more day. His vitals still aren't where I would like them to be and it was hard enough, intubating him the first time around."

Jayne and River scowl.

"Tomorrow," Doc assures. He checks Jayne's pulse and monitors his heart beat, smilin'. "You're doing well, Jayne. Incredibly well, for a man who had two tons of mule crushing him."

Jayne rolls his eyes, but before his Crazy-girl can speak for him, Kaylee sticks her head into the infirmary. "Jayne?" she says tentatively. The large man turns his head and looks at her.

"Kaylee!" River smiles, "We were wondering when you were going to come visit."

The mechanic hangs back, by the door. Jayne sighs.

"You can come in, you know," Doc says, holding out his hand to her.

"It ain't your fault," Crazy says. She actually sounds like Jayne a bit when she says this; same vocal inflections and gruff tone. The effect is ruined somewhat by the fact her voice is so much higher than his, but Jayne smiles a bit when Kaylee blinks in shock.

"River speaks for him right now, since he can't," Simon states as he walks over to her and escorts her into the room. "She sounds just like him too, which is slightly creepifying."

"I think it's sweet," Kaylee replies softly. She stands awkwardly at the foot 'a his bed with the Doc, lookin' at him and tryin' not to cry.

"Ain't your fault," River repeats, louder and a little bit testier. "Glad it weren't you, crushed under the mule, 'cause ya wouldn't have survived. I'm fine – got a hard head. Too stubborn to die. Would 'a never forgiven myself, if'n ya'd gone under."

"But it would never have happened if I hadn't…"

"Knock it off. We all thought it was safe. Think Mal would 'a let ya climb up there if he din't? Think I would 'a? No gorram way!"

"You saved my life," the little mechanic states.

"I knows it," River-Jayne replies, a little more softly this time. "But how many times have ya saved all 'a ours, keepin' the boat flyin' on nothin' but spit and a promise? I'm glad I finally done somethin' good for ya."

Kaylee sidles closer and reaches out, takin' Jayne's free hand. He squeezes her fingers gently and she smiles at him.

"No more tears. I can't stand seein' a woman cry. Makes her face all puffy and red, and the snot ain't attractive, neither."

Kaylee giggles when River says, in her normal voice, "Jayne! That's not nice."

The larger man shrugs as much as he can without hurtin' himself and winks at them. River doesn't need to speak for him this time – they can all read that expression clear as day – 'Ain't nice, but it's true'.

"I don't want any 'a that stuff 'Nara dropped off for me," Jayne growls at River a few days later. "Smells like flowers and I don't care if'n it makes the scars heal faster – they don't bother me none."

River is sittin' near his hip, facin' him. He's been moved out of the infirmary and into one 'a the quarters for payin' passengers because there weren't no way anyone could get him down the ladder to his bunk.

His Crazy-girl wrings out the clothe she'd been rubbin' gently across his chest and smiles at him. "Gives her a reason to touch you," she sighs dreamily.

Jayne's belly tightens and he curses under his breath. He don't think he can handle more 'a her touches without losin' his mind. He must be feelin' better, the way those touches effect him. Can't do anythin' about it, 'a course. Still hurts to move around too much but ren-ci de Fo-zu, won't be no holdin' back as soon as he's up to it.

"Wants you too," River sighs, "so badly. It's like an ache, deep in the pit of her belly." Her hand has lifted, free 'a the cloth, and rubs his chest lightly. He can feel one 'a her fingers scratch over his left nipple and a jolt 'a heat drives straight to his groin. His head falls back on to his pillow and he groans.

"Why do you do that," he gasps, as her fingers glide down one 'a his fresh scars. "I want to know what you feel."

"You do," she whispers. "You know." She is leanin' forward, pressin' light kisses along the same path her hand has just traced. "Overwhelmed; going under. Burning, aching, empty. She needs to be filled." Her voice provides to the sensory overload he's feelin'. His hands are in her hair, fistin' it as he draws her closer.

"Gorram, baby. You're killin' me."

One 'a her hands has dropped to his leg and is rubbin' the interior 'a his thigh through the sheets coverin' him before travelin' higher, grazin' his belly-button and sliding lower again. He closes his eye and bites the inside 'a his cheek when he feels her small hand circle him through the material coverin' him. The involuntary buck 'a his hips burns, but all the good feelin's are outweighin' the pain.

She nips the underside 'a his jaw bone, before pressin' her mouth against his and kissin' him. Her mouth is hot and wet and her hand is tight. He groans into her mouth and she sighs back, "Wants you."

"Soon, little butterfly," he gasps. The hand not wrapped around his cock flutters against the side 'a his face, her fingers lacin' through his hair. His heart is poundin' and he can hear the rush 'a his blood as it sings through his body.

Her tongue slides inta his mouth again. "Needs you."

"Need you too, Crazy," he bucks against her hand again and her grip tightens. There are little spots swimmin' in front 'a his eyes now. His hands have dropped to his sides, ineffectually grippin' the sheets as she works him over. He's gonna explode but it feels so good and hurts so bad he don't really want to stop her.

"Doesn't want to stop," she murmurs in his ear. "Wants Jayne-bird to fly again."

"Gorramit," he pants. "Gorramit, gorramit, gorramit. Yes…."

She's moanin' too, softly in his ear and against his mouth. "She's flying too," she whispers. "Her Jayne-bird is teaching her how to be free again. I love you."

It's the 'I love you' which sends him over the edge. When the explosion is over and his heart is beatin' at a normal rhythm again, he holds her against his chest. "I love you too, little butterfly."

She snuggles against him, careful 'a his stitches and scars, and yawns. "You need another bath."


Title: SHOTGUN
Author: Michmak
Rating: Mature

Summary: "You're tellin' me my little mei-mei won't keep her hands to herself and is intent on destroying your virtue?"

SHOTGUN

He was wearin' his Pa's best suit – a brown worsted wool that was a good three inches too short in the legs, and strainin' along the seams 'a the jacket. He had a hard time believin' he'd actually managed to get the damn thing on; wouldn't be wearin' it at all if he weren't bein' forced at gunpoint. His Pa didn't have boots big enough to fit him so he got to keep his own on, but gorram – he felt like a right idjit. Looked it too.

Seemed to him the whole town 'a Prospero was waitin' at the church when he had arrived; cheerin' and yellin' good-naturedly at him. "Well, ain't that somethin'," Doc Breckin had chuckled, "never seen anything like that 'afore!"

The collar 'a his shirt was too ruttin' tight. He ran a finger around the inside 'a it, tryin' to loosen it and wondered if his Ma would actually shoot him if'n he undid the top button and removed the bolo tie. He didn't think she would shoot to kill – he was still recuperatin' from almost bein' crushed by the mule – but she might put a bullet through a part 'a him she considered non-essential, and right now that could very well be his man-bits. He swallowed nervously, but kept the shirt done up tight.

"This really necessary, Ma?" he muttered again, as she jabbed him in the back with her gun. Considerin' his whole body still ached and he couldn't stand straight yet, he thought she was bein' a mite unreasonable.

"Yep," his Ma replied sternly. "After what ya done, this is very necessary. I won't have the whole settlement sayin' I ain't raised ya right. Ya been enjoyin' that little girl plenty and I don't cotton to it, Jayne. I raised ya better'n that and she ain't a whore. She's a fancy girl with a Doc for a brother and you're marryin' her before ya leave Prospero tomorrow and that's that. Ain't no son 'a mine livin' in sin."

"Ma, doncha think River should have some say in this? She's only eighteen. Maybe she ain't ready ta get married yet."

"If she's ready for sexin', she's ready for marryin'. 'Sides, it could be another twenty-years before ya come back to visit. I aim to see ya married proper, baby, and that's that. Wouldn't do to have no little illegitimate Cobbs runnin' around the universe."

"Ma!"

"Jayne!"

The big Merc scowled at her and slowly made his way to the front 'a the church.

If Simon hadn't given him permission to leave the ship, none 'a this woulda happened. But Jayne'd been itchin' to go somewhere. He was sick 'a bein' penned up on Serenity and his little Crazy-girl and all her sponge-bath givin' was drivin' him bonkers.

He'd begged Doc to give him leave and Simon musta seen the desperation on his face, because he'd caved rather easily. "Don't over do it," he'd warned. "Nothing that will over-exert you. No fighting, or anything like that. Perhaps I should ask River to accompany you?"

"Wo de ma, no!" Jayne had replied. "I need to get away from her for a little while."

"What…" Simon had begun angrily, but Jayne had interrupted him.

"She's drivin' me crazy, Doc. I know you're her brother and perhaps I shouldn't be sayin' this, but I can't take havin' her around me all the time without…without…well, ya know. Them sponge baths 'a hers are killin' me, and I promised ya I'd take things slow with her and even if I wanted ta…ya know…and I do wanna – I couldn't because everythin' still hurts too damn much."

Doc had looked at him in amazement at that, before laughin' in his face. "You're telling me my little mei-mei won't keep her hands to herself and is intent on destroying your virtue?"

Jayne scowled at him, "And that's funny why? I'm tryin' to do the right thin' here…'a course, I could just go find her right now and do what I've been dyin' to do to her for months now. It might kill me, but I'd go out with a smile."

Simon wiped his eyes and grinned at the larger man. "Tell me why I thought you were wrong for my sister, again? I seem to have forgotten."

Jayne rolled his eyes, "'Cause I'm old enough to be her daddy and I'm mean and I'm a mercenary and I tried to sell ya both to the Alliance?"

"Right." The younger man clapped him gingerly on the shoulder. "Go on, get going. Never let it be said that I contributed to your death."

"Ya won't tell River I'm gone?"

Simon shook his head, "I won't, but she'll figure it out soon enough. Don't be surprised when she shows up."

He hadn't thought his escape plan through very well.

He'd thought an actual honest to goodness bath would be a good idea, especially one that didn't involve her hands roamin' all over his body, but he'd forgotten how far the dockin' cave was from Town Square. There was a good half-mile trek through the tunnels before he even reached the Digger carts, and everyone he ran into along the way wanted to have a chat. By the time he climbed inta one 'a the carts, he'd already been on his feet almost an hour which was about 50 minutes longer than he'd done since he'd been hurt.

The ride inta town had reminded him all over again why he hated Prospero so much. The carts were damn shaky enough, but all that rattlin' on top 'a his slowly mendin' ribs was agony. He was surprised he hadn't passed out on the two mile ride down and was glad he hadn't had to man the brakes this time, 'cause no one in any 'a the carts woulda survived the crash.

The walk across the square weren't no better. In fact, it was worse. Every part 'a his body wanted to just collapse, but there were a lot more people here than in the dockin' bay and it seemed everyone wanted to congratulate him and slap him on the back and say stupid things to him. "Always knew ya was a strong one," they'd say. "Told yer Ma you'd turn out to be a good man."

Every time he stopped he weren't sure if'n he'd be able to get goin' again. He needed momentum to keep movin' or he was purt-sure his knees would just give out from underneath him and he'd end up face down in the dirt. Which would lead to another River sponge bath, which would lead to all manner 'a interestin' things designed to drive him right 'round the bend.

It was with considerable relief he finally reached his destination.

He'd always loved the bath house as a kid. The hot spring-fed baths were all manners a relaxin'. Gertie, the proprietess, smiled at him kindly when he hobbled in.

"Why, Jayne Cobb!" she said, "Ain't it good to see you up and about. I was just tellin' your mechanic when she was here the other day that a nice hot sulphur and salt bath would be just the thing for ya."

"Ya got one 'a them private ones available?" Jayne asked tiredly. "I don't really feel like the public baths today; need some privacy."

"Sure thing, Jayne," Gertie replied. "Ya look plumb tuckered out. Room six ain't go no one in it – here's the key. Shampoo and soap and the like should be in the cabinet."

Jayne limped down the hallway to the room in question, dropped his clothes and sunk into the hot water up to his neck. The baths weren't really baths – more like big holes cut into the ground with smooth rock ledges to sit on, so he din't have to climb into anythin', which was a relief.

Restin' his head with a sigh on the ledge 'a the bath, he closed his eyes and let heat slide inta him. The water pushed around him gently, cushionin' his sore body and makin' him feel like he was floatin'. He remembered feelin' like that in the sand too, as it had tried to suck him inta the sink hole and felt a momentary twinge 'a panic before he relaxed again. Weren't nothin' dangerous in the baths.

He ran a hand easily over his chest and abdomen, feelin' the fresh pucker 'a new scars, where the Doc had had to open him up to repair his lung and spleen. Simon had done his usual fine job with the stitches and his little Crazy-girl has taken to rubbin' that smelly unguent 'a Inara's inta them, despite his protests. She said nothin' would make him smell like flowers because he smelled too much like Jayne and then she'd kiss him on the lips or on his chest or wrap her still slick hands around him and he'd forget what he had been complainin' about. 'Sides, her hands gently rubbin' against his scars were like ten types 'a heaven, so he din't mind too much.

She was gettin' better too, mostly sayin' me and I all the time now, 'ceptin' when things got really intense. She tended to slip when things was hot and heavy between them – or rather, when she was makin' him sweat and lurch against her hand, hissin' against the pleasure/pain as she made him explode.

The first time she'd slipped like that, he'd looked at her but had been too far gone to stop what she was doin' to him. Afterwards, she'd kissed his scars and answered his unspoken questions, "I feel what you feel and I feel what I feel and sometimes it's too much. My Jayne-bird is intense and his pleasure is my pleasure, dong ma?"

"Ya mean ya know exactly what you're doin' to me when ya touch me like that? Ya get all my emotions and all 'a your emotions in your head at the same time?"

She'd nodded dreamily at him, "Feels like fire; pressure from the inside and out; flying higher and higher and exploding across the 'verse. Feels so good, Jayne-bird. Feels so good."

Even just thinkin' about it, in the bath with her no where around him makes him groan. Just knowin' that she feels everythin' she does to him makes his blood flow hot through his body. He wants to show her how good it will be when he's actually inside her – fingers, tongue, cock – how good it will feel for her and for him when she's wrapped around him, slidin' her way to bliss.

A hand trails across his abdomen that ain't his and he slits an eye open lazily.

"Found you," she whispers. He hadn't heard her come in, but the sight 'a her bare white shoulders above the water makes him forget why he was tryin' to get away from her in the first place.

"Been thinkin' about ya," he murmurs.

Her hand drifts lower and she gives him a squeeze. "So I see," she agrees softly.

The water is hot and buoyant and her hair is floatin' around her like a mermaids. He lifts a hand to trace her clavicle, dippin' his fingers into the shadow between her breasts, before slidin' lower and cuppin' one. He rubs a thumb over her nipple and watches her close her eyes and shudder. He ain't touched her a whole lot yet – ain't even seen her naked, really – and he's thinkin' maybe that's gonna change.

His free hand reaches over to twine through her hair, circlin' the back 'a her head as he pulls her closer. With a sigh, he helps her set facin' him, her lithe legs straddlin' either side 'a his thighs. He pulls her forward until he can feel her bare breasts rubbin' against his chest and the cradle 'a her thighs pressed hot against him. He closes his eyes and hisses in pleasure, a sound she mimics as she drops her head back. Her nipples rub like brands across his skin.

He feels like he's floatin' again and nothin' hurts. Most parts 'a him are totally relaxed and the one that ain't – he don't want it to be. He grips the smooth skin around her waist and lifts her easily to her knees so he can look at her. Her pale skin is flushed and wet from the heat and the water and arousal. Her breasts are tiny and perfect, with little nipples standin' all proud and pink like raspberries. When he drops his head to taste one, she bucks against his stomach and gasps.

"Feels good, don't it, Crazy-girl," he growls against her. "Tastes good too." He licks across one and then the other, before drawin' his teeth gently across her skin. "Gonna taste every inch 'a ya."

"Jayne," she stutters out. He grins at her. "Lean back and let yourself float. I ain't strong enough yet to hold ya without the water supportin' ya." His mouth moves across her sternum and down to her exposed belly-button, dippin' into the cave 'a it and lappin' at the water that's pooled there. His hands slide against her thighs, partin' them gently, as he tips her hips toward him. One 'a his fingers slides against her heat and she moans again.

"Look at you," he whispers against the inside 'a her thigh. "All shiny and new. Feel like it's my birthday and Christmas all rolled inta one." His whiskers brush against her tender skin and she moans again. Her hands are behind her now, supportin' herself against the ledge on the other side 'a the bath and her eyes are burnin' black, like coal. He frees a hand and rubs the pad 'a his thumb against her peak, growlin' at the heat. "Want ya so bad, Crazy."

"Please…" she moans.

His tongue follows the path his thumb had made, and even through the taste 'a salt and sulphur he can taste somethin' uniquely her. He licks again. "Tastes so good, baby."

Her thighs are flutterin' against the side 'a his head and she is slicker than oil. "Ya feel me? Ya feelin' how good this is for me; how much I love doin' this for ya?"

"Jayne…" she stutters again, "Please fill her."

"Fill who, little butterfly," he murmurs against her clit, teasin'.

"Me," she gasps, "This girl needs to be filled."

He doesn't give in to her demands right away. Instead, he shows her with his fingers and tongue the secrets 'a her body. The water flows around them like a cushion, her waters flow around him like a river. Finally, when he don't think he can stand it no more – when he knows his girl is gonna die if'n he ain't inside her, he slides her down his chest and glides inta her core. She stiffens against him for a moment and he can feel her tight around him. She is keenin' his name now and he holds her still until they can both adjust to the feel 'a bein' together.

"Gorram, Crazy," he whispers against her ear, "feels better than breathin'."

He don't think no more after that, can only feel the grippin' 'a her body as it swims against his; the way the water splashes against his neck as she rides him and he lets her. He don't ever need to go out to the 'verse again to see the stars – he's holdin' one in his arms.

He ain't sure who saw them leavin' the bath house together, but he figured it musta been pretty obvious to anyone who did see them what had happened in room six. His girl is drenched and her clothes are stickin' to her in ways that ain't decent and she's got her arms wrapped around his waist. He ain't sure who's supportin' who as they slowly make it back to Serenity together, all he knows is she's really his and he ain't ever lettin' her go. He wishes they had a bath on board Serenity. He decides six is his new favorite number.

His Ma wakes 'em both when she enters his room and points a gun at his head. "Get up, boy."

"Ma?" he mutters sleepily. "That you?"

River stirs against his chest and sits up. "Ma," she greets. "This girl will go and get ready."

"You do that, sweetheart," his Ma replies kindly. "Your girl friends is waitin' for ya back at the house."

"Huh?" Jayne grumbles. "What's goin' on?"

"The whole town is talkin' 'bout ya, that's what," his Ma replies. "Think space has gone and loosened your morals, some. The bath house, Jayne?"

Jayne blinks and sits up with a moan, eyein' his Ma and her gun uneasily before he notices the ugly suit she's holdin' draped over her other arm.

"What's goin' on?" he asks again, suspiciously.

"Why, darlin' boy," his Ma replies, "seems you're gettin' married."

The entire crew is standin' up for them at the front 'a the church, 'ceptin' River and the Doc. Jayne glares at Mal when the man smirks at him, but he don't say nothin'.. His Ma sits in the front pew but keeps her gun out, pointed at him the whole time.

Someone starts playin' the piano. River is glidin' down the aisle towards him, wrapped in white silk. Simon is escortin' her, wearin' one 'a his fancy vests and shirts. Jayne feels like he's been sucker punched when the younger man smiles at him almost as brightly as his sister is.

She is so beautiful and perfect and his breath catches in the back 'a his throat. He's seein' stars again, and if it weren't for Mal placin' a steadyin' hand under his elbow he thinks he mighta keeled over.

"Who gives this woman to this man?" the preacher asks.

"I do," Simon says strongly, squeezin' Jayne's hand when he places River's dainty one inta it, "and I couldn't give her to a better man."

His Crazy-girl is leanin' inta him. The music is finished now and the church is silent, 'ceptin' the sound 'a his Ma cryin' against his father's chest. The gun ain't pointed in his general direction no more, but he finds he don't care: his Crazy-girl is leanin' inta him.

"You wanna do this, baby?" he whispers as he draws her more firmly against his side.

She nods and Jayne feels like someone just done squeezed his heart. He smiles so wide he thinks the top 'a his head might just fall off the back 'a his head as if it's on a hinge and he lets out a whoop.

"What are we waitin' for then?" he hollers. "Jayne Cobb is gettin'' married!"


Title: LEAVE TAKING
Author: Michmak
Rating: Mature

Summary: "There's all kindsa trouble I can get you inta, Crazy. And I aim to show ya every one 'a them – only not here and not now."

LEAVE TAKING

He remembers the first time he danced with her, back in New Delhi. He'd thought she was a butterfly, then – all floaty and graceful-like; purt'near the most beautiful ruttin' girl he ever did see. He realizes as he looks down at her smiling face she's even more beautiful now and he wonders how that can be so.

Her smile is wide and open, her brown eyes flashing at him as he gingerly moves her around the dance floor. He knows he ain't movin' too smoothly, on accounta the fact he's still stiff and sore, but it don't matter none. She's standin' there in his arms, lookin' at him like he's some kinda superhero, and damned if she don't make him feel like he is one.

The dress she is wearing is all shiny and soft, with a big full skirt that tangles against his legs as they move. Her skin looks all kindsa white and creamy against it and her dark hair looks like silk as it flows down her back.

"You sure are pretty," he murmurs against the top of her head. "I think I'm the luckiest man in the 'verse."

She tightens the arm around his waist and nestles against him. They are barely moving now, just swayin' on the dance floor. Other people dance around them, flashes of color spinning in his peripheral vision, but he only pays attention to the butterfly in his arms.

In all his wildest imaginin's, Jayne Cobb never thought he'd ever get married. And, if the thought had crossed his mind when he had perhaps had a bit too much to drink and the empty blackness of space seemed especially lonely, he'd never imagined a weddin' night like the one he'd just spent – sleepin' at his Ma's house, his little Crazy-girl nestled up against him, and no sex to speak of.

And, although the idea of a shot gun weddin' weren't all that unexpected, he'd never imagined it would be his Ma holding the gun on him. A dainty hand is resting under his shirt against his chest, fingers circling one 'a his nipples, and he shudders.

"Gorram, crazy, could ya stop doin' that please?" he mutters against the top of her head. He smiles when he hears her giggle, but the lazy circles don't stop. "I'm serious girl, stop it now. It ain't like we're alone somewhere private."

"This room has a door," she whispers in response.

"So what?" Jayne mutters back.

"The door is closed and there's no one else here but a boy and his girl."

"The door ain't got a lock on it, and I ain't no gorram boy."

"I know," his little butterfly sighs against his shoulder contentedly. "You've shown me your man-bits, remember? This girl would like to see them again sometime soon."

Jayne groaned at the undiluted sexy in her voice. "You will, but not right here or now, in my Ma's house, dong ma?"

"When then?" River threw a leg over his hips and locked an ankle behind his knee. "Shall we go to the bath house again?"

"You are killin' me, Crazy," Jayne muttered. "We're leavin' today, remember? 'Sides, it was the bath house that got us in trouble in the first place."

"But it was good trouble," his girl purred against his side. Jayne growled again and shifted so that he was facing her. It didn't take much maneuvering to get her facing him and he smirked at her.

"There's all kindsa trouble I can get you inta, Crazy. And I aim to show ya every one 'a them – only not here and not now." He leaned forward and lightly traced the seam of her lips with his tongue, enjoying the way she whimpered and opened her mouth against him. Her mouth was as warm and wet as he'd remembered and it reminded him of her other warm, wet places. Stiffling the sudden urge to strip her naked and throw caution to the wind, he rolled away from her and tossed an arm over his eyes. "Git up. I can smell breakfast."

It was hard saying goodbye again. More than half the settlement had come to see them off. The dust bowl was calm enough today that they should have no problem breaking atmo, and the Captain had promised to get more supplies to them somehow.

Simon carefully took the medical credits old Doc Breckin had given him, along with a large list of much needed inoculations, and once again shook the older man's hands.

Ma Cobb hugged Jayne before turning to hug her new daughter-in-law. "You're a good girl," she murmured as she wrapped her arms around River's waist. "Don't let him stay away so long next time. Make him write home more. Take care of him for me."

"This girl will do all that and more, Ma," River smiled. "This girl will make a family for Jayne."

Jayne gawked at River when she said this, but his Ma smiled at her even wider, tears in his eyes. "Grandbabies?"

"Eventually," River agreed. "He's good with Junior. He'd be a good daddy."

"No babies on my ship!" Mal interjected as he walked up to them. "I bent on the kitten, but the babies are definitely out."

River just smiled at him and Jayne blinked stupidly, even as his mother threw herself into his arms again. Behind her, his Pa and Mattie were standing, hats twisting nervously in their hands.

"Jayne," his Pa nodded at him.

"Jayne," Mattie repeated.

Jayne shook their hands over his Ma's head.

"It was a pleasure meeting you, Mrs. Cobb, Mr. Cobb, Mattie," Mal offered. "Thanks for the hospitality and the homemade victuals. Kaylee says the WAVE in working again at the General Store, so you can WAVE us now to talk to Jayne – keep an eye on him that way."

"We will," Ma hugged Mal too. "You keep my boy and his girl safe now, you hear?"

"Yes'm," Mal nodded. "I'll do my best."

They hadn't even broken atmo yet before River was busy, moving her things from her room to Jayne's tiny bunk. She had made him go lie down when they closed up the ship and he hadn't argued much because he was tired and sore. 'Sides, it was nice having someone looking out for him for a change. He could get used to being the object of her concern and care.

He had fallen asleep almost immediately and hadn't woken up until he'd felt her climb over him. With a sleepy grunt, he'd opened his eyes and looked around at his now cluttered bunk. A little box had been set over in the corner near his closet and the few fripperies she'd managed to collect adorned every flat surface in his room.

Her tiny hands were drawing his cotton t-shirt out of his pants, inching it with agonizing slowness up over his belly and abdominals, her fingers nails lightly scratching along his his exposed skin.

"What're ya doing?" he mumbled as one of her hands slide up his sternum.

"The door is locked," she replied.

"It ain't even lunch time yet," he murmured sleepily, even as parts of him perked up.

"It's 1:12 pm," she replied. "Lunch has been missed."

His hands drew patterns through her clothing, up over her hips and gripped her tightly to him. She slid forward slightly and they both shuddered when they felt his hard heat trapped between them.

"You sure Mal don't need us for anything?" he gritted out as her hands suddenly slid down and started unbuttoning his pants.

"I told them to leave us alone," she replied, bending over and nipping at his chin. He could hear the slight rasp of his stubble as it slid through her teeth. "This girl needs her Jayne now."

"Yes," Jayne agreed as her hands wrapped around him. "Yes."

The End...for now